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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5O-02545: Angus MacDonald (Falkirk East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with AHDB, industry representatives and the UK Government regarding the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Scottish seed potato exports.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 14 November 2018

Regular engagement takes place between officials and industry, and Scotland’s Chief Plant Health Officer will be the keynote speaker at the AHDB’s seed potato event tomorrow, where he will be addressing the potential impacts Brexit will have on the industry.

Officials have been in regular discussions with Defra and conducted a joint call for evidence to industry in the summer requesting information on the sufficiency of domestic seed potatoes in supplying the UK demand.

Scottish seed potatoes are world-renowned for their high quality and a third of our marketable tonnage is currently exported to the EU- so this is a vitally important sector for us, and more so than across the rest of the UK.

We believe Scotland has the capacity to meet UK wide domestic demand for seed potatoes. I have written to the Secretary of State Michael Gove expressing my disappointment in the Defra position and asked him to reconsider.

I have also discussed this with his colleague and Defra Minister, David Rutley.